Vijay Sethupathi: Have stopped going to award shows, but will surely go for National Film Awards ceremony
Actor Vijay Sethupathi doesn’t know how to express his happiness after winning his first National Film Award for portrayal of a transgender person in Super Deluxe, but he is hoping that it will help people, especially transgender community, to finally accept and understand the film.
At the time of the release in 2019, Sethupathi got several calls chiding him for disrespecting transgender community with his role in the Tamil film. Now, he says it will be great if people try to get the real intention behind making the film, which was removing stigma towards the community.
Sethupathi was shooting for his next Tamil project in Madurai, Tamil Nadu, when he got to know about getting the Best Supporting Actor honour through congratulatory messages. That took him by surprise.
“When I work, I don’t expect any awards. For the past two years, I have stopped going to award functions. The news of winning the National Film Award came as a surprise. When people started wishing me, I didn’t even know how to react,” the actor tells us.
Asked why he has stopped going to award ceremonies, Sethupathi says there are many reasons behind his decision, which he doesn’t want to disclose.
“I have been trying to stop going to award ceremonies since 2015. I became a hero in 2010, and started getting awards from 2013. I went to the award functions for two years, and slowly started cutting down, one by one. This year also, I was called to three-four award ceremonies, but I refused,” shares the actor, adding that he will surely go to pick up the National Film Award.
He gives all the credit for the win to Super Deluxe director Thiagarajan Kumararaja, who captured the complexities of being a transgender through the journey of his character named Shilpa.
“I respect the way it was written and everything happened because of Kumararaja. He is the man who put a lot of effort in creating the character,” says the 43-year-old, who will soon make his way into Bollywood through Kishor Pandurang Belekar’s Gandhi Talks and Santosh Sivan’s Mumbaikar.
Reflecting back on his own journey of bringing alive the life of Shilpa on screen, the actor says, “Whenever I play a character, I become a teacher and the character becomes a student. But in this film, Shilpa became a teacher and I became a student. I didn’t take inspiration from anybody, and just did it. I learnt so much from Shilpa.”
While looking back, Sethupathi confesses that he was disappointed when he got several calls from members of the transgender community “scolding” him for his portrayal.
“They were upset and didn’t accept the film. We thought that they would feel good about the film because we made it with so much respect. But they misunderstood the film, and that is why along with appreciation, some called and scolded me. We didn’t expect such reactions. Now, I hope they understand it (real intentions), if that happens, it will be really good,” he concludes on a hopeful note.